The book “Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!” by Nicholas Carlson was published earlier this year. Carlson, a Business Insider writer has been covering stories on Google, Yahoo and Marissa Mayer since 2006. Divided into four parts, the book flits between Yahoo’s past, Marissa’s past and then about her tenure as the CEO of Yahoo.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have picked up a book about Yahoo. To me, it’s a brand that was once an important part of my internet activity (I was hooked to its games like Diner Dash and spent many hours in the now questionable threads on Yahoo Answers) back in middle school, but had slowly become irrelevant once its competitors started gaining traction. When Google opened Gmail to users worldwide, I logged out of my Yahoo mail account and never returned to the site.
So what made me pick up this book? Well, for starters, Mayer has a very interesting career story, what with the Stanford graduate being one of the first 25 employees at Google who went on to become one of the most crucial members on its team. It was only after she became the CEO of Yahoo in 2012, that I began to hear about Yahoo again, particularly about its acquisition of Tumblr, a blogging platform and its investment in Alibaba, a Chinese e commerce site which had the world’s largest IPO or Initial Public Offering ever, when it went public last year. However, her occasional cold behaviour and obsession with detail have led to enemies in her career too. I bought the book mostly to get to know more about her decisions and corporate moves.
For me, the book stands out not just because the chain of events in Yahoo and Mayer’s life is so interesting, but also because the way the book has been written. It is neither an autobiography, biography nor a commentary. It has been based on hundreds of interviews from various sources who have worked and known Mayer in the past. Internal documents of Yahoo have been used too, apparently. The amount of research the book reflects is remarkable!
The events are such that they might be a little difficult to process during the first read. Though it’s very gripping, you might feel overwhelmed by the information–I made notes to keep track of certain points. But for anyone who’s interested in corporate affairs, investments, the ups and downs of what was once considered a top company and the career of a powerful lady, this book is a great addition to your bookshelf!
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